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Jun. 5, 2020
5:49 am


Lanier’s Olympic Park is the place to go this summer

By Jane Harrison
The action’s heating up this summer at Lake Lanier Olympic Park where concerts will rock, bikes will roll, and boats will quake the waters at the once neglected lakeside venue. Add to that the aroma of food truck fare, a relaxing mid-week glass of wine, moonlit paddle tours, and an all-adult field day challenge for a fun-packed season at one of Lanier’s community gems.
The site of the 1996 Olympic rowing and canoe/kayak competitions is having its most activity-filled summer since its revival nearly six years ago. That’s when a re-energized Gainesville-Hall ’96, recently re-branded as the Lake Lanier Olympic Park Foundation, injected new community enthusiasm into the Olympic relic.
LLOP Executive Director Robyn Lynch talked with Lakeside News last month about some upcoming events she’s most excited about and other new activities to keep the venue hopping.
  • Wine Down Wednesdays, Food Truck Fridays. The success of Food Truck Fridays, the last Friday each month spring-fall, led to a salute to making it through Hump Day. On the last Wednesday, wine drinkers can raise their glasses for a low key mid-week respite on the Olympic plaza overlooking the lake. Local restaurant, 2-Dog, will pour the wine and serve appetizers. Come back on the last Friday to chow down and toast the weekend with food truck dinners and live music.
  • Fifth Annual Lake Show, Georgia Wake Series, June 1. Whole lotta quackin’ going on the first of June when lake surfers shred waves by day and Soul Shakers vibrate the plaza at night. The Georgia Wake Series returns to Lake Lanier for its third stop this season with dudes riding boards on tow ropes behind big wake-stirring boats. As the waves settle, the vibe continues on the Olympic plaza where Lori Hall & the Soul Shakers star in the Fifth Annual Lake Show. Expect food trucks, dancing and fireworks. Come by boat or land. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets: General Admission  $20; Boat Donation $25 collected by kayaker, includes lit up flag, 2 admission tickets; $500 VIP table for 6, 6 meal tickets, 12 drink tickets, 4 seat cushions.
  • BRAG, June 2/Tri the Parks June 8. Between 1,200-1,300 bicyclists will wheel into LLOP after a long, hilly ride from Ellijay in the first Bicycle Ride Across Georgia stage to hit Gainesville in more than 15 years. That evening, the public is invited to celebrate the cycle tour with food trucks and music by the Fly Betty Band. Cyclists hit the road for Covington the next morning. The next week, more than 400 athletes will swim, bike and run in the second Tri the Parks triathlon/duathlon/aquabike at LLOP. (More info >>>)
  • Gainesville Beach Bash, July 13. For the first time, Beach Bash fun-lovers can wiggle their toes in sand, wade into the water, and spread blankets on the grass. Expected construction on the Gainesville Square prompted the city to move its popular mid-summer party to an actual beach on Lake Lanier. Lynch said she’s most excited about the family-friendly event that includes live music, food and beverage vendors, hoola hoop and limbo contests, and children’s activities.
  • Corporate Olympics, Aug. 16. This premiere competition put on by the Olympic Park Foundation will ramp up talk at the office water cooler. Lynch described the “adult field day” as a team-builder for co-workers. She expects mostly local companies, but added Atlanta corporations are welcome. The foundation was still plotting the games last month. With the lake at hand and August heat bearing down, participants might need to get all wet. Afterward, they can refuel at that night’s Food Truck Friday.
  • Rubber Duck Derby, May 11. In its 21st year the “duck race” has featured thousands of little yellow rubber ducks floating toward the finish line to raise funds for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier. Duck race is set for 5:30 p.m. with a concert by Fly Betty Band from 6 to 9 p.m. The early hours will feature bounce houses, pony rides, a petting zoo, food trucks and more.
  • Rowing/Paddling, all summer long. The Lake Lanier Rowing Club and Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club, legacy organizations from the 1996 Olympics, carry on with the sports that created the venue. Learn to Row, Learn to Kayak, and Learn to SUP classes, plus moonlight paddling tours, summer camps, regattas and a sprint paddling national championship keep the traditions alive.

ACRA expands to three days
More than a thousand rowers from 50 colleges throughout the nation will compete in the American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship at Lake Lanier Olympic Park May 24-26. The event expanded to three days this year to allow additional race categories not previously slated in the line-up.It is the 12th  college rowing club championship held at Lanier. The Lake Lanier Rowing Club is the local organizing committee. Racing begins at noon on Friday and concludes by 2 p.m. on Sunday.
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Posted online 4/29/19
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